Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Helpful information when it comes to booking a venue.

I have decided that I am going to start adding to my blog helpful hints and ideas when planning any event. Today's topic is reserving a venue. I have been receiving many calls and emails in regards to insight on where to book events and what is a good amount to spend. When thinking of reserving a venue you have to take into account what it has to offer you for the set rental price.

~ Venue Questions ~

•What is the max capacity of the space? This does not always mean you can seat that many people at tables and chairs as well as have room for dance floor etc.

• Are you required to use their catering? If so what is the cost of the food. In many cases the rental of the space seems to be a great deal, but once you add the food tab it really was not a "deal" at all.

•Do they supply tables and chairs? If so how many and do they also offer any linen options?

•What are their rules when it comes to alcohol? Is it permitted? Does there have to be someone licensed to serve the alcohol? Is a cash bar allowed?

• Do they include clean up in the price of the rental? If not, what is expected? Some places require you to remove everything from the room; tables, chairs, all trash. They also require you to vacuum and mop.

•Is the location easy to find? Are there signs or landmarks that would help your guests to find it?

•How long do you have it reserved? Every venue require you to be completely out of the building by a certain time.

•What are there lighting options? Are the lights on dimmers or separate switches so you can achieve the look and feel you picture? What are the outlet wattage limits? That is key to knowing if you can bring in additional lighting and if so how many.

•It is 100% normal for every venue to have a contract at the time of booking. If you are not asked to sign a contract then you should be worried. A contract is the ONLY way to garantee you have reserved that location for you date. They also usually require a non-refundable deposit. Sometimes I have people who are scared by the non-refundable part. The reason the deposit is non-refundable is they can not be held liable for date changes or cancellations. They understand things come and things may change, but they are responsible for holding that date for you and only you. With that being said, if 30 other people call about that date, they have to turn them away because it is reserved by you. If you cancel your event you could be keeping them from reserving it for that date and in return they will lose money. They are in the business to make money and that is why contracts are put into place. So be sure that you want THAT venue on THAT day BEFORE you book.

•It is also good to know if the venue requires you to take out a special event insurance policy. These insurance policies are a great investment I think. I have told many brides and grooms about this and to my knowledge none of them have had to use them, but the thought of them having complete protection is a wonderful piece of mind. Sometimes people get out of control and can damage part of the venue or maybe even be involved in a car accident. This insurance would cover you for the time of your event so that in the event that something bad were to happen, you could not be sued or help financially responsible for whatever may arise.

It is VERY important that you follow every rule that the venue has in your contract. They have the right to keep your deposit if you do not follow what they have asked. In some cases you will be charged more than your deposit if there is damage that exceeds the amount put down.

I hope you find this helpful when reserving your event space. Please let me know if there is anything I can help you with in you special event needs.

24th Birthday Celebration!!!! 1/22/11

I received a call about 4 p.m. on Wednesday January 19 from a gentleman wanting to know how fast I could put a party together. My first question was, "When are you wanting to have this party?" His response was "Saturday January 22". My mind immediately goes in to motion as to how and where this was going to happen and who I would need to call to work this out. I asked him a few questions about what the party was for and what he would like to accomplish at the party. He explained that it was his 24th birthday and wanted a very fun night for all his closest friends and family. He is just recently out of the military and has not been home to celebrate his birthday since he joined. He made it clear that he needed me to handle everything for him from finding the venue and vendors, down to set up and clean up. I asked him if I could give him a call back withing the hour. Obviously my first call was to find a location, and I sure was lucky there. My first call was to Swan Lake Golf Course Club House. The nice lady who I spoke with on the phone went over the policies and the rental rate and wow, how affordable in comparison to the other venues in town. I set up an appointment with her the following day to sign the contract and reserve the room. Next came finding a bartender (number one request was open bar with a lot of options) DJ (number two request was great music with karaoke) and catering (number three was to have drinking food). I knew to call Marcus with Scott's Bartending. He is my go to guy on any occasion large or small when I need someone great to handle all the alcohol needs. He is so easy to work with and can manage to go above and beyond on any budget. When it came to music I like to find a DJ that has variety and also lighting options so it combines what would normally be two vendors into one. DJ Folley with Big Fish Entertainment is so affordable on his DJ rates and has a huge selection of lighting, probably more options than anyone in Clarksville. I knew he could handle the requests from Josh , the birthday boy, as well as all my lighting requests for the decor. When it comes to food, I must say that I absolutely love Leesa at Relish. She really impressed me with a few tastings in the past few months and the selection they have to offer is endless. When I told her I needed good drinking food, she knew exactly what I meant. We came up with pulled pork sandwhiches, mini ham and turkey clubs, homemade salsa and a cheese and cracker spread. Once I had all of the three requests covered I called Josh back to let him know it could definitely happen and let him know what all I had found. He was very impressed that in 45 minutes I had pulled together this party he had been wanting to plan for quite some time. We met for the first time the next day to sign the contracts and take care of all the business stuff. I wanted to know what he thought for centerpieces and he said "just something cool, but nothing girly with flowers". That I knew I could handle. My next question to him was about a birthday cake, he had not mentioned it. I knew that I would call Heather at Covered With Icing to fulfill my very quick order, but I needed to know what kind of cake he liked. Red velvet was his only request and I knew that Heather's red velvet was THE BEST!!! Saturday rolled around and it was time to kick it in party mode. (It was the second day in a row for me, my birthday was actually the day before and I had my own celebration of sorts.) Everything quickly came together and before I knew it everything was set up and Josh had arrived with his friends and family. They had such a great time. From singing and dancing to taking shots and playing beer pong they really enjoyed their night. From "flaming B52 shots" and "something fruity where I can't taste the alcohol" Marcus rocked the bar and Folley kept the fun music going all night. I was sure it was a success. I was of course worn out Sunday from to consecutive late nights, but it was a short little text message from Josh himself that made all the tiredness go away, "thanks again for everything I had a great time, I am referring you to my friends". This may have been the quickest I have pulled an event together but I always love a challenge. Happy Birthday Josh and thank you for choosing me to make your plans happen.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Heather & Alberto 12/29/10

I first met Heather and Alberto at the Clarksville Bride's Bridal Show in January of 2010, I soon ran in to them walking around the Nashville bridal show later that month. It wasn't till a quite a few months later that Heather's mom called me up an wanted to sit down and go over what all I could help them accomplished that was still on their "list". They were all in the teaching/education profession and I have never assisted a group that was so well organized. They are my official first Wednesday wedding. Their wedding and reception was so fun and I absolutely loved the Mariachi Band who played for the first hour of the reception. I wish you both lots of love and many years of wedded bliss!

Ceremony & Reception: James E. Bruce Convention Center
Videography: Turning Point Productions
Linens: Clarksville Linen Rental
Florist: Sango Village Florist
Photographer: Matt Andrews
Cake: The Cake Artist
DJ: Cale Carver

Noel & Brian 12/11/10

Noel and Brian were definitely meant for each other. You could tell that they were so in love from the first time I met them to the moment they said their vows. Thank you both for letting me be a part of your special day.

Wedding & Reception: Paris Landing State Park
Florist: Sango Village Florist
DJ & Lighting: Big Fish Entertainment
Cupcakes: Covered With Icing
Groom's Donut Cake: Krispy Kreme
Bartender: Scott's Bartending
Photographer: Joan of Art Photography
Linens: Clarksville Linen Rental

Hillary & James 10/16/10

Hillary is a fellow wedding planner whom I have know since she was picking out prom gowns when she was in high school and every year she would come back and visit me with her mom and sister. Together we would find the perfect dress. So what a compliment it was when she contacted me about assisting her with the setup and decorating of her big day. Let me tell you, it takes a lot for a wedding planner to turn over the reigns to another person on their big day. I did not take this task lightly. Just as I enter any wedding day set up I went in full force and made sure to remind Hillary it was her day to just get her hair and makeup done not be moving tables or arranging flowers.

Blaire and I worked diligently to make Hillary's vision come to life. There were many personal touches that the bride as well as her mother, sister, and grandmother had put many hours in to making for their guests. Just as in any wedding their were a few minor glitches along the way but no one knew a thing...it was absolutely BEAUTIFUL! Congratulations Hillary and James!!! I wish you many years of happiness!